In 1993 Starhawk, an early spokesperson for the neo-pagan movement, wrote a book called The Fifth Sacred Thing. In this post-apocalyptic novel, set in San Francisco, a theocratic dictatorship has seized all of the assets of the earth: air, food and water, and is the sole source of pharmaceutical antidotes for the ecological poisons they themselves create. The Fifth Sacred Thing is Spirit, after the four elements of Earth, Air, Fire and Water.
It is a scenario that is not so far-fetched today, but in 1993 a world such as this seemed far in the distant future. In the 20 years since then, and in the 20 years hence (the story is set in 2048), Pluto will have traveled through fire (Sagittarius, 1995-2008), earth (Capricorn 2008-2023), air (Aquarius 2023-2043) and then water (Pisces 2043-2066). And the world’s population will have increased by 2.5 billion, most of these in the poorest countries with the fewest resources.
Pluto’s journey through Sagittarius (expansion and foreign cultures) globalized the planet in a way no one could have imagined previously. Pluto is now in Capricorn (capitalism and society) where it is breaking down the structures upon which humanity has relied for hundreds of years. When Pluto moves through Aquarius (technology and revolution) we are likely to see the kind of technocracy and rule by machines that have been imagined by science fiction writers for years. And Pluto in Pisces (ocean) is likely to bring the water wars.
Humans can live without food for a while, but we cannot live without water. When water becomes scarcer than gold, it becomes a precious commodity. Wars over water are nothing new, especially in the southwestern United States where water was diverted from rivers to fertilize the barren deserts of California and Arizona. Climate change has brought a shift in weather patterns that is already creating water shortages in many places (see this map for trouble spots). In India and China, people are dying as they fight over the precious resource.
It’s not just the hot desert climates that are suffering from water shortage – the Caribbean is now facing shortages of fresh potable water that threaten its population. Meanwhile rising seas are taking dominion over coastlines and heavy rainfall is causing floods, neither of which actually produce sufficient drinking water to support the planet’s population.
Neptune moved into Pisces in 2011, and since Neptune is the modern ruler of Pisces this is an extremely strong influence of magic and imagination, but also illusion and deception. Under Neptune’s influence we tend to be more prone to self-deception and prefer not to face the hard realities that stare us in the face. Denying that the climate is changing will not change the problem. It doesn’t matter how loud you speak a lie – it is still not true.
It is likely that corporate interests (Pluto in Capricorn) will continue to wage wars for domination utilizing this Sacred Thing, creating unsustainable conditions that will erupt when Pluto moves into Aquarius (revolution and technology). The Aquarian influence will help to innovate new ways for managing water resources, but human nature being what it is, the precious resource will likely continue to be a source of conflict for generations to come.
However, all is not lost. Every day, people are making small changes that can add up to big results. Visit this website for inspirational news that shows how we really can make a difference.
Starhawk was able to raise enough funds through a Kickstarter campaign to create a film based on the book. You can see an excerpt below.